Saying “violent extremists come from all religions” is like saying aids comes from all people when we know aids is non-existent in 99.9% of the world’s population. There is a clearly identifiable minority of the world’s population that is the source of aids. There is also a clearly identifiable minority of the world’s population that is the source of “violent extremism.”
Painting all religions with the same broad brush of harboring violent extremists is blatant bigotry against religions. That is exactly what U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton practiced when he stated “The fact is that violent extremists come from all religions and no religion at all. For one person to blame a group, if that’s what happened here, is uniquely anti-American and will be pursued with the full force of the Justice Department.”
It is unfortunate that U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton is so irresponsibly ignorant of world religions and the behavior of people who practice them. This is a classic case of the distorted use of moral equivalency.
Let me ask you, Attorney Dwight Holton, who exactly are the violent extremists in the name of Lutheranism, Presbyterianism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism, Baptists, Mormonism, and Jehovah’s Witnesses? Attorney Dwight Holton, have you considered the number of violent acts of terror committed by violent extremists in the name of Islam every day?
Attorney Dwight Holton, have you any understanding of the violent, supremacist orthodox teachings of Islam as understood and promoted by the great majority of Islamic leaders in the world today? Are you suggesting, Attorney Dwight Holton, that other world religions teach or practice anything that comes close to the teaching and practice within Islam? How dare you, Attorney Dwight Holton, equate the behavior of those in any other religion with the behavior of those who practice their violence-prone Islamic ideology.
We can all agree that whoever torched the mosque in Oregon (which Attorney Dwight Holton acknowledged is not known) committed a crime that should be punished. But to suggest that we are all prone to violent extremism when there is only one clearly identifiable group among the world’s population that earned its infamy for their violent extremism is unhelpful and ignorant.